One day I woke up and realized I was almost 30.
My twenties had gone by in a whirlwind; I had graduated from college, co-founded a rock band, toured the country, signed to a record label and lived in LA while I recorded an album there. I went through the trials and tribulations of being in a struggling band to later find the music industry to be a poor business model with little support for young artists. In the meantime, when I was home I had worked for a mental health facility on the adolescent unit, got married, bought a house and found a new job.
All this time I hadn’t concentrated on my health and well-being, whatsoever.
Just like everyone else, sometimes I had New Years resolutions and moments during those years where I would get a gym membership. Only to later cancel it after only stepping foot into the facility once or twice.
For some reason, quickly approaching 30 I had an epiphany. Living like I was, with little to no exercise and with several dietary and lifestyle vices, was not going to cut it any longer.
I’m a goal setter, a list maker and honestly, I can be somewhat obsessive. I made the decision that day to outline my next 5 years and to set goals on what I wanted to achieve. I wanted to set goals that would be somewhat extreme in comparison to my relatively sedentary lifestyle. I wanted to push myself to my limits & then further, much like I did when I was “younger”.
My first big goal was to run a full marathon (26.2 miles) before my 30th birthday. I hadn’t ran in years at that point but I had many months to prepare.
I began my base training in the fall of that year with practice races like a 13.1 half marathon. I ran through the winter, even logging a 12 mile run in ice and snow!
I began to eat healthier, concentrating on fueling my body rather than satisfying junk cravings. I began to take notice of the importance of the quality of “fuel” that you put into your body. I did research on organic foods, and the reasons why hormones and things were pumped into our foods in the first place, (suggested reading: The Omnivores Dilemma) and how to “eat clean”.
On a warmer than normal day in October I completed the Chicago Marathon. I fought and battled through injuries, insane cramping and mental hurdles. When I crossed the finish line I was overcome with emotion. I tear up even now just thinking about it. All those hours of training, all those long lonely miles… I had done it.
It made me once again realize the power we have within us all. Right now you might be reading this and thinking, “There’s no way I could ever run 26.2 miles”. While training my best friend told me, “Woody, I get tired just driving that far”. But, please remember that I didn’t just decide to run a marathon and the next day run one. I built my mileage for almost 10 months. It was hard work and it took a lot of discipline to wake up at 5am on a Sunday to run 20 miles.
I truly believe now that an extremely important part of loving ourselves is taking care of ourselves. We must be conscious of our health. Don’t be like me and wait until your 29 to make that decision! Start today!
Do you have to go run a marathon? No, absolutely not. Your goals can be anything, and I promise you, when you reach that goal and you cross that “finish” line…
You’ll never feel more proud. Limits? What limits!
Current goal/training for-
What could you set a goal to accomplish in the next year, fitness or health wise? Share in the comments!